Razer DeathStalker V2 Professional evaluation: low profile and low ambitions

The DeathStalker V2 Professional is a redesign of Razer’s unique DeathStalker gaming keyboard, which used membrane switches and chiclet keycaps. Whereas the V2 Professional could share a reputation with the 10-year-old keyboard, little else has remained the identical. The V2 Professional is a full-size, low-profile keyboard that includes a shorter model of Razer’s optical switches which are accessible in linear or clicky varieties. It additionally options 2.4GHz wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity for anybody who prefers a wi-fi setup or needs to rapidly swap inputs between units.

The suite of options on the DeathStalker V2 Professional is actually spectacular however will be one thing of a troublesome promote when you think about the $249.99 price ticket. The low-profile nature of the DeathStalker V2 Professional offers its chassis a slimmer design that’s roughly two-thirds the peak of what you would possibly count on. Its switches and keycaps are additionally shorter than typical mechanical keyboards, which will be sooner to press when gaming just because your fingers don’t need to journey as far.

The design and general aesthetics of the DeathStalker V2 Professional are extraordinarily clear when stacked towards a few of Razer’s earlier designs, and actually, if it weren’t for the RGB lighting, you would possibly even have bother telling that this can be a gaming keyboard. The aluminum prime plate and plastic physique really feel sturdy with no noticeable flex within the chassis. The DeathStalker V2 Professional feels deceptively heavy for a keyboard this slim. You aren’t going to throw your again out, however at 1.6 kilos, the DeathStalker V2 Professional appears like a unusually dense piece of package given its slightly diminutive profile.

Razer’s optical switches have a blended status within the gaming group, particularly amongst mechanical keyboard lovers. Optical switches use an interrupted beam of sunshine to register particular person keystrokes — versus mechanical switches, which register utilizing a accomplished electrical circuit referred to as a crosspoint contact. This leads to a sooner response time and extra constant keypresses that don’t depend on as many transferring elements. Some say that optical switches really feel mushy and don’t supply a noticeable efficiency distinction from standard mechanical switches. Tastes differ, however I personally don’t have an issue with how they really feel a lot as how they sound.

The new low-profile optical switches are available in linear red and clicky purple flavors.

The brand new low-profile optical switches can be found in linear pink and clicky purple flavors.

Razer has included sound dampening foam to a few of its newer keyboards, however it’s unclear if makes an attempt to enhance the acoustics have been missed as a part of the DeathStalker V2 Professional. This isn’t the worst-sounding keyboard I’ve ever used. (That distinction belongs to the Corsair K68.) However for those who’re specific about how your keyboard sounds if you’re utilizing it, I’d advocate wanting elsewhere. The common keys sound all proper, however the stabilizers, that are used with bigger keys like enter, shift, and the spacebar, exhibit a definite rattle when pressed. It might be doable to rectify this considerably by liberal software of some dielectric grease and the favored “band-aid mod,” however you’re sadly caught with plate-mounted stabilizers until you’re keen to carry out some damaging disassembly.

Right here’s what typing seems like on the Razer DeathStalker V2 Professional with Pink switches:

Razer’s low-profile optical switches really feel just like the full-sized variations I’ve utilized in its Huntsman line of keyboards. Keystrokes are snappy and responsive with a full journey distance of simply 2.8mm and an actuation level of 1.2mm. That compares to a 4mm distance and 2mm actuation level on a regular-height keyboard with Cherry MX Pink switches. The actuation pressure is comparatively gentle (45 grams if numbers are necessary to you) however nonetheless requires a deliberate effort to register, and the decrease journey distance could make you’re feeling somewhat faster on the draw. I normally want a better profile keycap, however I did discover that the decrease profile and better actuation pressure in comparison with my ordinary Kailh Field Silver switches led to a cleaner typing expertise general, with fewer typos and missed inputs. 

Talking of ergonomics, I initially thought that the shortage of a wrist relaxation wouldn’t be a difficulty, however as somebody who’s used to having one round, I can confidently say that I used to be fallacious. Whereas Razer’s prepackaged wrist rests haven’t impressed me prior to now, that is one thing I’d’ve appreciated to see included in a keyboard that prices a lot.

A keyboard that’s so low to the ground that Razer didn’t think you’d need a wrist rest.

A keyboard that’s so low to the bottom that Razer didn’t suppose you’d want a wrist relaxation.

The ABS keycaps which are used on the DeathStalker V2 Professional are handled to withstand accumulating seen oils, and fortuitously, they work as marketed. Even a few hundred hours down the street, the keycaps look nearly as pristine as after I took the keyboard out of the field. I sometimes want the textured really feel of PBT keycaps to easy ABS plastic, however these keycaps nonetheless managed to shock me with their means to remain clear, which is necessary for anybody who doesn’t need their keycaps to point out a visual wealth of forensic proof on it after a number of hours of use. 

The quantity curler and the one media button that made their debut with the BlackWidow V3 are right here and nonetheless a particular win. The button and curler are fabricated from the identical aluminum as the highest plate and really feel extraordinarily good to make use of, with a satisfying click on when pressed and deliberate, tactile steps when rolled. They’re so enjoyable to fiddle with that I typically discovered myself by chance messing with my quantity controls. They’re somewhat too out of the way in which to be helpful whereas gaming, however each will be mapped to totally different controls utilizing Razer’s Synapse software program.

It’s impossible to not mindlessly fidget with this roller.

It’s not possible to not mindlessly fidget with this curler.

Comply with Proceed: Razer DeathStalker V2 Professional

Each good gadget now requires you to conform to a collection of phrases and situations earlier than you need to use it — contracts that nobody truly reads. It’s not possible for us to learn and analyze each single considered one of these agreements. However we began counting precisely what number of occasions you need to hit “agree” to make use of units once we evaluation them since these are agreements most individuals don’t learn and positively can’t negotiate.

In terms of the Razer DeathStalker V2 Professional, you solely need to conform to the corporate’s phrases and situations if you wish to use its Synapse software program to handle the keyboard’s settings. These agreements embody: 

Closing tally: three non-compulsory agreements, relying on whether or not you wish to use Synapse.

Along with the optical switches, the opposite standout characteristic of the DeathStalker V2 Professional is its wi-fi connectivity. You may pair the keyboard to units by way of Bluetooth or 2.4GHz wi-fi and change between connections with as much as three Bluetooth units directly. The two.4GHz wi-fi dongle of the DeathStalker V2 has additionally included Razer’s enhancements to its HyperSpeed Wi-fi receiver, which permits a number of equipment, like a mouse and keyboard, to share a single dongle as an alternative of occupying one USB port every.

Utilizing the DeathStalker V2 Professional over Bluetooth provides largely the identical expertise as utilizing it whereas wired or wi-fi, with no noticeable distinction in latency. The one actual exception is you could’t configure extra superior RGB lighting results in Razer’s Synapse software program over Bluetooth. 

A wi-fi keyboard isn’t a lot good if you need to cost it each different day. Fortunately, the battery lifetime of the DeathStalker V2 Professional is pretty spectacular for a wi-fi peripheral. Utilizing the keyboard for roughly 9 hours a day, the DeathStalker lasted somewhat over two days earlier than I wanted to prime it off. After I did, it took somewhat over an hour to totally cost by way of the USB-C connection. This rundown take a look at was carried out with the backlighting at full tilt and having the keyboard flip off after quarter-hour of inactivity.

The 2.4Ghz wireless dongle stows neatly away in the base of the chassis.

The two.4Ghz wi-fi dongle stows neatly away within the base of the chassis.

You may’t speak in regards to the DeathStalker V2 Professional with out drawing comparisons to Logitech’s G915 collection of keyboards that sport the same structure and profile whereas additionally incorporating most of the similar options, like 2.4Ghz wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity and intensive battery life. Whereas the full-size G915 was initially priced on the similar $250, each the full-size and tenkeyless variations of the Logitech G915 are actually cheaper and embody devoted macro keys as a part of their structure — however omit the optical switches. Except you might have a selected attachment to Razer’s optical switches, you would possibly wish to take into account purchasing round for a reduced G915 as an alternative. 

Low-profile gaming keyboards are unusual, however the DeathStalker V2 isn’t the one recreation on the town. Along with the Logitech G915 collection, Corsair and Fnatic (amongst others) have low-profile gaming boards that value a lot much less, just like the Corsair K60 RGB Professional low-profile for round $110 and the Fnatic Streak65 LP, which is priced round $120. In case you’re searching for methods to spend $250 on a keyboard, there are higher choices accessible, just like the modular Mountain Everest Max or the Corsair K100 with its 4,000Hz polling price.

In my dozens of hours of typing and gaming with the DeathStalker V2 Professional, I didn’t run into any obvious points except for the keycaps and rattling stabilizers, however I can’t consider a purpose to maintain it on my desk, particularly for $250. Even with its wi-fi connectivity, spectacular battery life, and optical switches, I don’t suppose the DeathStalker V2 Professional brings sufficient to the desk for its steep value.

The DeathStalker V2 Professional isn’t a foul peripheral by any means, and sure elements are even well-designed, however I’d’ve appreciated to see somewhat extra innovation and rather less iteration when it comes to the options. Other than being Razer’s first try at a low-profile mechanical keyboard, the DeathStalker V2 doesn’t do a lot to depart from conference for a keyboard that prices a lot — for those who’re doing one thing I’ve seen earlier than, I shouldn’t need to pay this a lot.

Currently, Razer’s keyboards really feel like a combination and match of the identical handful of options that we’ve seen on their older fashions, and the DeathStalker V2 Professional exemplifies this. Distributors like Corsair and Asus are busy pushing the envelope with keyboards which have modular profiles and hot-swappable switches, whereas it appears like Razer is content material simply phoning it in at this level. If Razer needs to cost $250 for a keyboard, it actually wants to point out up with one thing new.

Pictures by Alice Newcome-Beill / The Verge

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